Jealousy may have played part in killing

The terrified screams of Claire Joyce Tempongko filled a San Francisco courtroom Tuesday as prosecutors played a 911 call made 17 months before she was killed.

Tempongko, 28, was stabbed to death in front of her two children in her Richmond district apartment Oct. 22, 2000. Prosecutors say her boyfriend, Tari Ramirez, killed her after years of abuse. Ramirez, who fled to Mexico after the killing, was arrested in Cancun in 2006 and is now standing trial.

On Tuesday, prosecutors questioned Teofilo Miranda. Miranda, a former co-worker of Ramirez, described how a night of celebration on May 18, 1999, ended with Ramirez allegedly attacking his girlfriend.

Miranda said the couple had picked him up on their way to a Mission district dance club. But the trio were thrown out after Ramirez became jealous of a group of young men talking to his girlfriend and started an argument.

The couple came back to Miranda’s house and began to argue, he said. When Ramirez demanded his girlfriend leave with him, she refused.

“She wanted to leave in another taxi. She said he was going to hit her,” Miranda said.

Panicked, Miranda called 911.

Prosecutors played the tape of Miranda pleading for police to come quickly while Tempongko screams for help repeatedly. Police later arrested Ramirez, one of three times he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting Tempongko that year.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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